• Download mobile app
02 Mar 2024, Edition - 3154, Saturday

Trending Now

  • MNM – DMK seat sharing possible before Feb 28. Actor Kamal Hassan to leave country on Feb 29 for a film shoot.
  • Speaker Appavu accepts resignation of Congress MLA Vijayadharini.
  • Google pay to be suspended from June in America : Google
  • Unless there is reservation for dalits, it is impossible for them to contest in elections : NTK leader Seeman.


Sixty eight years is no age to die

K. Ramachandran , Former Journalist


May be she was the daughter of a film star. May be she got a decent education, was top of class and school and become a State rank holder in her early years. She might have been a top class Bharatanatyam dancer. May be she would have carved a niche in academics had she chosen to pursue higher studies instead of entering the world of glamour.

May be she commanded a legion of fans with her roles on screen. May be she was thrust into the murky world of politics by her own “hero”, the late Chief Minister M.G Ramachandran. Maybe his mentorship inspired her to become a young charismatic speaker even while learning the basics of politics. May be she was asked to take over a big role as “Kolgai Parappu Seyalaalar” (Propaganda Secretary of the AIADMK) by the late MGR.

May be she grew so fast, by being bright and articulate. May be because she was able to draw huge crowds and make mesmerizing speeches using all her histrionic talent. May be this early success made the AIADMK founder MGR, to make her a Parliamentarian to ensure that Tamil Nadu’s voice was heard and presence seen in Delhi.

May be she played a big role in ensuring that the strained ties between Tamil Nadu and the Union Government was cemented smooth in the early 80s. May be that’s when she realized her potential.

She was humiliated by political rivals within the AIADMK and her rivals during her meteoric growth phase. May be she was reviled. Called names. But the fighter in her always made her stand alone, take the battle to enemy ranks. And win easily.

May be it is her steely grit, her mass support and her near demi-god status among her loyalists and the voters that propelled her into the top position in the State five times.

May be she was an able administrator because of her command over people and the system. May be her ability to grasp complicated subjects of administration, finance, governance, people and political management, voter expectations management made her a massive force to reckon with in national politics.

May be she had the aura to draw voters to her side and support always. May be it was the same aura that drew national level leaders including Prime Ministers to meet her at her Chennai home seeking favours and political deals.

May be she had the pulse of the people. May be she knew the best way to balance political power and rule was by offering a mixture of freebies, right political agenda, and implement her electoral promises to keep law and order in complete control.

May be she kept national interests above all else when she exterminated the LTTE’s presence in Tamil Nadu. May be later she understood the growing sympathy for the Tamil cause in Sri Lanka and among the Tamils here and thus lend full support to the demand for a separate Tamil Eelam.

May be she understood how to deal with a completely male-dominated world of Dravidian politics. May be she showed she was more a man than all other men in the party and in Tamil Nadu’s political firmament.

May be she understood every pain of the poor man in the Street. May be that’s why she created schemes like Amma Canteen, Amma pharmacy or the Cradle Baby programme.

May be she was better connected with the women masses in Tamil Nadu than even MGR. May be she invoked so much love from her party cadre that some would die for her. Literally.

May be she kept her political agenda ahead of her personal loyalties or close family. May be she made the big mistake of allowing certain people around her to take control of the home, the party and the government at times. May be she made a few political blunders by trusting her gut, instinct and her arrogance above all, ignoring friends and allies.

May be she kept to herself. Built an iron clad chamber around her persona and life. Remain a mystery and enigma.

May be we as ordinary people or voters will never know what in private Ms J Jayalalithaa was. How she would spend her free time. What type of music or books she loved? What kind of sweet did the child in her (like in all others) would crave for. Did she have another dream? Did she have any regrets?

May be we will never know.

But we all know this – 68 is not an age to die. At all.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter